Photo editor

As 2017 comes to a close, 15 photographers and contributors reflected on the images they captured for The Washington Post over the past 12 months. From South Sudan to the Philippines, from Boko Haram escapees to hurricane refugees, here are their highlights.


Angel, 22, puts on makeup before going to church in Ngoma Sector, Rwanda, on Feb. 26, 2017. Angel's mother, Jacqueline, lost her husband and two daughters during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She was gang-raped, contracted HIV and became pregnant with Angel. (Whitney Shefte/The Washington Post)

February: Whitney Shefte reports on the legacy of Rwanda's genocide

“Hearing the stories of mothers who were raped during Rwanda's genocide and the stories of what it was like to be a child born of that rape was a heart-wrenching reminder of the dark legacy ethnic cleansing has in that country,” Shefte said. “But it was also a reminder of how resilient people can be in the face of horror, overcoming the very worst that can happen to them. I took away from that the importance of telling the story with nuance and depth, and it was a honor that these people entrusted me with that.”

[Thousands of women were raped during Rwanda's genocide. Now their kids are coming of age]


Narsaq in Greenland has long been sustained by fishermen, hunters and farmers. It is now on the brink of a major transformation. (Sirio Magnabosco/Arctic Times Project)

February: Sirio Magnabosco takes us to Greenland

“The moment the hunter I photographed offered me a raw piece of the whale still lying in his boat, I realized that sustainable exploitation of nature is an essential part of everyday life in Greenland,” Magnabosco said. “Balancing this with the economic interests of multinational corporations is a challenge yet to be met.”

[Greenland needs money. Is a uranium mine the answer?]


Supporters of French far-right candidate Marine Le Pen gather for a rally in La Trinité-Porhoët, France, on March 30, 2017. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

March: Staff photographer Michael Robinson Chavez covers the French elections and the rise of far-right candidate Marine Le Pen

“The similarities of the French elections to the presidential campaign in the United States were striking,” Chavez said. “The slogans and anger of the right-wing populist movement of Le Pen echoed that of Trump’s campaign: anti-immigrant, nationalistic and resistance to globalization.”

[A youth revolt in France boosts the far right]


A brother of Fadha, Salina and Mohammed Ghozlani was killed by Islamic State militants last fall. They say a cousin was among the attackers. (Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post)

March: Lorenzo Tugnoli reports on the rise of radical Islamism in the mountains of western Tunisia 

“There is an amazing sense of hospitality in the Arab world,” Tugnoli said. “You can see they want to show you that the Middle East is not only the stage for tragedies but also a place filled with culture and solidarity. In Karma, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Kasserine, people were buying me coffee all the time. The local barber offered to cut my hair, but since I didn’t have time for that, he just went on and gave me a huge Tunisian flag that was hanging in his shop.”

[As ISIS grows in Tunisia, a family hurts from within]


Local workers clean the booster substation of the Cerro Dominador solar plant in Calama, Chile, on March 9, 2017. (Tamara Merino for The Washington Post)

March: Tamara Merino explores Chile's huge solar plants

“I was enchanted with this vast and lonely desert land that seems uninhabited, but in reality, large amounts of green energy are being produced in this huge solar plant,” Merino said. “An enormous tower in the middle of the desert surrounded by immense structures perfectly aligned and men dressed in fluorescent orange costumes who look like astronauts made me feel like I was on another planet.”

[While Trump promotes coal, other countries are turning to cheap solar power]


Hadiza Modu, 40, sits with her newborn at a shelter for the displaced in Banki, Nigeria. Modu fled to Cameroon after a Boko Haram attack and returned to Banki this year. (Jane Hahn for The Washington Post)

June: Jane Hahn meets refugees on the run from Boko Haram

“Photographing these stories can be a challenge mainly due to the tight security, which restricts how much time I can spend shooting and doesn't allow for much freedom of movement,” Hahn said. “It's not only important to tell the story in an accurate and visually compelling way while working as quickly and safely as possible but to also respect the people who are allowing you into their lives and trusting you with their stories.”

[They fled Boko Haram and famine — and then they were forced back]


Coroners remove a body from Barranca de la Laja, an impoverished neighborhood in Acapulco, Mexico, on July 20, 2017. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

July: Chavez witnesses Acapulco's violence

“I grew up traveling to Mexico. It was an easy trip into Baja from Ventura County, California, my home,” Chavez said. “We would camp on desert points and surf for days. I always found the dusty peninsula and the country as a whole surprising, welcoming and exciting. It was not until the series of trips I took there in 2017 with Josh Partlow, our Mexico bureau chief, that I truly felt afraid. Afraid for my safety. Afraid for what Mexico had become.”

[How Acapulco became Mexico's murder capital]


Ayan Abdi Ahmed, 20, in the bedroom she shares while visiting friends in Nakuru, Kenya. (Nichole Sobecki for The Washington Post)

August: Nichole Sobecki tells the story of one refugee's hope for a new life

“Sometimes, but not often, you get to do a story about someone so extraordinary they beat all the terrible odds against them,” said Sobecki, who is based in Nairobi. “Ayan’s strength and smarts are inspiring and a reminder how hope can endure.”

[For 5,000 Somali refugees, a Canadian college scholarship was the only way out]


Workers head to the island of Barbuda on Sept. 24, 2017, to help with cleanup efforts. (Salwan Georges/The Washington Post)

September: Staff photographer Salwan Georges discovers Barbuda's resilience

“What stood out for me is how eager the people of Barbuda were to return to the island to rebuild it after it was destroyed by Hurricane Irma,” Georges said. “To them, the island was more than a place to live; it was a way of life and identity.”

[On devastated Caribbean islands, residents wonder if they should go back]


Rohingya refugees try to get on a boat from the island of Shahporir to mainland Teknaf after landing on the Bangladeshi shore. (Ismail Ferdous for The Washington Post)

September: Ismail Ferdous documents the escape of Rohingya Muslims

“This was the largest refugee crisis of 2017, and it was happening in my own country,” Ferdous said. “I felt more connected with my heart to this Rohingya story than any other refugee crisis I parachuted over to cover in other parts of the world previously.”

[Rohingya crisis in Myanmar: Refugees recount horror of 'slaughter,' then a perilous journey to Bangladesh]


North Korean defectors rest in a hotel room after arriving safely in Thailand. (Paula Bronstein for The Washington Post)

September: Paula Bronstein photographs North Korean defectors

“As a photographer based in Bangkok, I have rarely had the chance to meet defectors immediately after they arrived. Normally, it is weeks later, when they are sitting in crowded detention centers, so this story was super-interesting for me to cover,” Bronstein said. “I wasn’t allowed to reveal the identity of anyone we wrote about; I just was glad they trusted reporter Anna Fifield and myself to tell their stories to the outside world, revealing the impossible journey to Thailand and the risks that defectors take to escape from the grip of Kim Jong Un’s regime.”

[How North Koreans are escaping the clutches of Kim Jong Un]


Babacho Mama on his way to English classes at the Pibor Boys Primary School in Pibor, Boma state, South Sudan. (Peter Bauza for The Washington Post)

October: Peter Bauza meets South Sudan's former child soldiers

“I spent more than three and half months traveling in South Sudan to research, see and document the humanitarian crisis,” Bauza said. “For years, they fought this brutal war. A war that has plunged the youngest and poorest country in a world of chaos, escalating ethnic conflicts, illnesses and starvation. I was definitely impacted by how demobilization programs are failing one of the most vulnerable parts of the society — the children, who are plagued by hunger and resigned to a life without alternatives.”

[They were rescued from war. Now South Sudan's child soldiers are going back]


Ling Ling and her baby in a camp for displaced people in Pantar, Philippines, on Nov. 15, 2017. She had given birth in the camp in July. (Hannah Reyes Morales for The Washington Post)

November: Hannah Reyes Morales photographs the ruins of Marawi

“What stood out for me, aside from seeing the destruction that the siege left in its wake, was the number of mothers, pregnant women and babies present in the camps,” Reyes Morales said. “I cannot imagine what it is like to be caught in the crossfire and have to flee home —and it is even harder to imagine what that is like with children and babies in tow. We met mothers who went through desperate measures to 'sneak' back to their homes to find their child, women who fled Marawi pregnant and whose babies were born in the midst of their displacement. Sahlia, one of the mothers, went back home with her children, and they currently live in a home of broken windows and missing things.”

[Liberated and angry in Marawi, Philippines]


Falhado, 14, Ladan, 13, and Shamso, 12, stand for a portrait in their home in Dagahaley, in Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp, on Nov. 3, 2017. (Adriane Ohanesian for The Washington Post)

November: Adriane Ohanesian follows a family forced to move back to war-torn Somalia

“It was frustrating to watch as three girls packed up their belongings in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya and left behind an opportunity for a good education,” Ohanesian said. Their destination: Mogadishu, Somalia, “a place that has little to offer them as students or as young women,” she added.

[How refugees are being forced back to a war zone to repay their debts]


Shamsul plays in a Rohingya refugee camp on Dec. 5, 2017, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (Allison Joyce for The Washington Post)

December: Allison Joyce photographs the plight of Rohingya orphans

“I've been covering the Rohingya crisis on and off for seven years now,” said Joyce, a photographer based in India and Bangladesh. “One thing that struck me while working this autumn was the sheer number of unaccompanied children who are now making their way to Bangladesh alone, after watching their parents massacred back home. While reporting this story, we followed Jafar, who was 11 years old and so closed off to the world. But I'll never forget his face when he and his friends went to play soccer one afternoon, with a $2 ball they had scrimped and saved for days to afford. For a few minutes, it was like he got to be a kid again.”

[These orphaned Rohingya brothers escaped a massacre. Now they have to survive a refugee camp]


Victoria looks at toys sold in a street. Resellers bought them months ago to make a living selling the toys in December, at higher prices,in Caracas, Venezuela. (Alejandro Cegarra for The Washington Post)

December: Alejandro Cegarra photographs Christmas in a Venezuela on the brink of financial ruin

Children hold a soft spot in Cegarra's heart. “No matter how many barriers you put up, a kid living in hardship will make these barriers fall,” he said. “The empty stomach, the lonely nights and the endless questions: 'Why me? What did I do to deserve this?' All of this makes me feel useless every time I have to take their pictures.” Cegarra always tries to make their day a little bit better, bringing them candy or letting them use his camera. “Children cannot choose their reality. They are trapped in an economic collapse that is especially hard for them and their families,” he said. “The only thing I can do is hope, somehow, that my pictures will help bring support to the NGOs that are helping them.”

[How hyperinflation stole Christmas in Venezuela]


A soldier walks inside the Roman theater in Sabratha, Libya, on Dec. 10, 2017. The site was damaged during fighting for control of the city between rival militias. (Lorenzo Tugnoli for The Washington Post)

December: Tugnoli photographs a changing landscape in Libya

The hospitality that Tugnoli found in Tunisia earlier this year, he also found in Libya, where many people could speak his native language: Italian. “I had a long conversation with an old businessman that was remembering the liberal days of the country before the Gaddafi regime,” he said. “He remembered the locations of all the bars in town. None of them are still open today, obviously.”

[Ouster of a brutal militia from Libya's smuggling hub chokes off migrant flow]